U.S. President Barack Obama says Iran could face a completely different future if it stopped its nuclear program.
President Obama Holds a Press Conference with King Abdullah II of Jordan
The U.S. president made the comment on the last lap of his Mideast trip, speaking at a joint press conference with the Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah II, and it came after the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said in a New Year's speech that if Israel takes military action against Iran, "then the Islamic Republic will decimate Tel Aviv and Haifa."
Obama responded to Ayatollah Khamenei's statements, saying the Iranian leader should concentrate on improving conditions for his people. He said Iran could face a transformed future if it would stand down from its nuclear program.
He added that the elimination of Western sanctions could give Iran the opportunity to build thriving businesses and look at expanding trade and travel with the rest of the world, including the U.S.
Obama repeated that Iran has to convince other countries that its nuclear program is peaceful.
Iran has repeatedly denied the allegations by Western powers that its nuclear program may have a military component, and Ayatollah Khamenei has said on several occasions that the use of nuclear weapons is against Islamic laws.
- Iran's supreme leader, who's known for his staunch opposition to talks with the United States on Iran's nuclear program, said in a speech to mark the Persian New Year on March 21 that he's not opposed to direct talks with Washington. "I'm not optimistic about these talks, but I'm not opposed to them either," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 03/22/13